SGS PFAS Update LI: PFAS News for Environmental Professionals

There was big news across North America related to PFAS this month. Most notably, on March 14, the EPA proposed new standards for six types of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in drinking water in the United States. What followed was direct media attention as States and communities discover what this will mean for their existing systems. In Canada, high levels of toxic chemicals were found in “green” food packaging. In this March edition of the SGS PFAS newsletter, we’ll break down what these regulations mean and highlight how these chemicals are showing up in firefighting foam, freshwater fish, and more.

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Can’t get pregnant? PFAS chemicals in household products may be slashing women’s fertility by 40%

Higher exposure to “forever chemicals” found in the environment and many everyday products may help explain why some women struggle to get pregnant, new research suggests. The study found that higher levels of PFAS in the blood of would-be mothers were associated with up to 40 per cent lower chances of achieving a successful pregnancy.

PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’ Are Everywhere: Here’s What That Means for Wildlife

The nonprofit Environmental Working Group analyzed hundreds of recent peer-reviewed scientific studies and found more than 120 different PFAS compounds in wildlife. Some 330 species were affected, spanning nearly every continent — and that’s just some of what scientists have identified so far.

United States

Biden-Harris Administration Proposes First-Ever National Standard to Protect Communities from PFAS in Drinking Water

On March 14, the Biden-Harris Administration announced it is proposing the first-ever national drinking water standard for six per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the latest action under President Biden’s plan to combat PFAS pollution and Administrator Regan’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap. Through this action, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking a major step to protect public health from PFAS pollution, leveraging the latest science and complementing state efforts to limit PFAS by proposing to establish legally enforceable levels for six PFAS known to occur in drinking water.

What Will a Federal PFAS Rule Mean?

The rigorous clampdown will call for huge infrastructure ramp ups. More than 5,000 water systems will have to either find new water sources or install advanced treatment. On top of that, 2,500 water systems that already treat PFAS will be required to adapt their existing systems, estimates the American Water Works Association (AWWA).

Chipmakers fight spread of US crackdowns on “forever chemicals”

The lobbying push from chipmakers broadens the opposition to new rules and bans for the chemicals known as PFAS. The substances have been found in the blood of 97 percent of Americans, according to the US government.

Child growth and development hampered by PFAS in blood, study says

Potentially toxic chemicals found in everyday products, including fast-food wrappers, makeup and carpeting, are altering hormonal and metabolic pathways needed for human growth and development, according to a new study.

Pentagon to phase out firefighting foam with ‘forever chemicals’

Battered by years of criticism from U.S. lawmakers and environmental advocates, the Department of Defense will stop purchasing PFAS-containing firefighting foam later this year and phase it out entirely in 2024.


High levels of toxic ‘forever chemicals’ found in so-called ‘green’ food packaging used across Canada, says a new study

What do compostable burrito bowls, pastry containers and paper popcorn bags all have in common? Aside from being marketed as “good for the environment,” each has been found to carry high levels of toxic, long-lived chemicals called PFAS — or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — according to the first study of its kind in Canada.

Canada: scientists discover new method to break down toxic ‘forever chemicals’

Researchers at a Canadian university have made a breakthrough they hope will dramatically shorten the lifespan of the thousands of toxic “forever chemicals” that persist in clothing, household items and the environment.


Possible changes ahead for some Alabama water systems as EPA proposes PFAS drinking water standards

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management, which has a cleanup agreement with 3M to clean up PFAS contamination in North Alabama, said that since 2020 it has required Alabama’s public drinking water systems to test for PFAS. ADEM has a list on its website of all of its most recent PFAS testing data for water systems across the state.


Delaware lawmakers want accounting of PFAS-containing foam at fire stations statewide

Delaware lawmakers are exploring options to help volunteer fire companies in the state get rid of firefighting foam that contain toxic “forever chemicals” known as PFAS. A resolution approved in the state House earlier this month calls for counting the number of canisters stored at fire stations statewide, as the start of a process of replacing the foam.


Fire Fighters Union files suit in Massachusetts over chemicals in gear that “is killing us”

The International Association of Fire Fighters filed suit Thursday against the National Fire Protection Association for what they say is its role in imposing a testing standard that effectively requires the use of PFAS in fire fighter protective gear.


All fish tested from Michigan rivers contain ‘forever chemicals’, study finds

All fish caught in Michigan rivers and tested for toxic PFAS contained the chemicals – and at levels that present a health risk for anyone eating them, according to a new study. Researchers checked 100 fish samples that represented 12 species in the Huron and Rouge rivers.


EPA wants stricter ‘forever chemicals’ limit

Greater Cincinnati Water Works said it’ll need to install additional treatment measures since the EPA proposes stricter drinking water regulations for 6 PFAS, the so-called ‘forever chemicals.’ The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission started to study PFAS in the Ohio River in 2020. The goal was to get a better understanding about the PFAS in the river.


What does it take to get ‘forever chemicals’ out of drinking water? Big new systems that you might have to help pay for

Tucked away from the sight of passing motorists, a pair of 21-foot-high steel tanks costing $1 million rise off West Butler Avenue in New Britain, Bucks County, as they filter out a toxic class of chemicals known as PFAS. The tanks owned by Aqua Pennsylvania contain granulated activated carbon (GAC) to filter “forever chemicals” out of drinking water for 6,000 local residents. The water comes from a 405-foot-deep well contaminated by PFAS that are linked to firefighting foams used at former military bases 10 miles away.


Artificial turf potentially linked to cancer deaths of six Phillies ball players – report

A report on a possible link between a rare brain cancer that killed six professional US baseball players and toxic chemicals in artificial turf is raising a new round of questions over whether synthetic sports fields pose a health threat to athletes and others who use them.

South Carolina

EPA’s proposed limits on forever chemicals could impact SC water supplies

Some big changes could be in store for many local water suppliers in South Carolina if the Environmental Protection Agency’s new limits on forever chemicals take effect. The EPA wants limits of 4 parts per trillion for two PFAS chemicals. According to the Associated Press, PFAS, or per- and polyfluorinated substances, are a group of compounds that are widespread, dangerous and expensive to remove from water.


Is PFAS in your water? Tennessee is promising answers soon on cancer-linked chemicals

Tennessee has limited data on PFAS. In 2021, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation initiated a statewide study on PFAS in drinking water sources and expects to have the first sampling results next month. Results will be posted on TDEC’s PFAS page.


Thousands of pounds of “forever chemicals” have been injected into Texas oil and gas wells, study finds

A new report from a public health watchdog found that more than 40,000 pounds of PFAS has been injected into more than 1,000 wells across Texas — and warned that the chemicals could pose a risk to public health


PFAS impacts a greater concern for young children

Wisconsinites are no stranger to PFAS, with it being found in water supplies across the state, but officials say that the youngest Wisconsinites are at a high risk of severe health problems. Dr. Sonal Chandratre, a pediatric endocrinologist with Aspirus Health, said, “Research suggests that PFAS negatively impacts and alters hormonal systems. Later in infancy, you can also see that children can be born with low birth weight – and PFAS can also cause tumors.”